Discussion: Turning Conceptual Variables Into Measurable Variables

Discussion: Turning Conceptual Variables Into Measurable Variables

Discussion: Turning Conceptual Variables Into Measurable Variables

If you ask a classmate questions about course content and he is correct sometimes but at other times he gives you the wrong information, you might say that he is not reliable. You may want to request help from someone who knows the correct answer every time—perhaps your Instructor! The concept is the same in research. It is important to be confident that when you measure a variable repeatedly, it will have the same result. That is what reliability means in research.


Another important concept in research is validity. You might have a friend who laughs at all of your jokes. You determine that you must be very funny because your friend laughs. You are measuring your ability to be funny based on laughing behavior. However, it is possible that your friend is very polite and does not want to hurt your feelings by not laughing. In that case, the laugh is really measuring your friend’s politeness and not your expertise in telling jokes. The “laugh” measure, in this case, is not valid. It does not measure what you think it is measuring.

The concept of validity is critical in research, too. If you develop a scale to measure the conceptual variable of anxiety, but it really measures fear, the scale is not valid. Conceptual variables are abstract ideas that form the basis of research designs. What does the concept of anxiety mean to you? How would you define anxiety to another person? Only after conceptual variables are precisely defined can they be turned into measurable variables.

In this Discussion, you will turn a conceptual variable into a measurable variable by creating and administering your own scale, and by considering the scale’s reliability and validity.

To prepare:

  • Read Chapter 4 of the course text. Pay particular attention to the Likert scale illustrated on page 75.
  • Read Chapter 5 from the course text.
  • Review the assigned readings from Chapters 1–3 from the previous weeks.
  • Identify conceptual variables that may be of interest to you. A few examples are anxiety, conformity, and leadership.
  • Create your own 5- to 10-item Likert scale to assess a conceptual variable of interest to you.
  • Administer the scale to at least three friends or family members. You may administer it in person or via e-mail.
  • Prepare to upload the Likert scale you created as an attached document (in .doc or .rtf format) to your Discussion post.

With these thoughts in mind:

By Day 3

  • The conceptual variable you selected. Note: Include the conceptual variable in the “Subject”field of your post (e.g., Job Satisfaction).
  • In the main body of your post:
  • Discuss your experience writing and administering the scale.
  • Explain how your scale turned your conceptual variable into a measured variable (beyond creating a Likert scale).
  • Explain the strengths and limitations concerning the reliability and validity of your scale.
  • Upload the Likert scale you created as an attached document (either a .doc or .rtf file).

Note: Be sure to support the responses within your Discussion post, and in your colleague reply, with evidence from the assigned Learning Resources.

By Day 6

Respond to at least one of your colleagues’ initial Discussion assignment postings in one of the following ways: (I have attached a colleague discussion post below that I need to respond to)

  • Ask a probing question about the scale and provide the foundation, or a rationale, for the question.
  • Support or offer a different perspective to a colleague’s explanation about how he or she turned the conceptual variable to a measured variable.
  • Support or offer a different perspective to a colleague’s explanation of the strengths and limitations concerning the reliability and/or validity of his or her scale.

Note: You are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleague’s postings. After clicking on the “Post to Discussion Question” link, select “Create Thread” to create your initial post.

colleague post :

For my discussion this week I decided to create a scale to see if people struggle with an anxiety disorder. I composed 10 questions that i felt would be essential to ask to participants to measure their levels of anxiety in every day life. My experience writing the scale was good because I put a lot of thought into the questions so that they can tell me the accurate level of anxiety people go through to determine their levels of anxiety. Administering the test was fun and I got to know how people around me and in my every day life experience life and handle anxiety differently than others. MY scale turned from aconceptual variable, the ideas that form the basis of a research hypothesis, (Stagnor, C. 2015. p.67). to a measured variable, which consist of numbers that represent the conceptual variables. (Stangor, C. 2015 p.67). because I came up with a study to measure amount of anxiety in a person’s daily life and by administering that study to different participants I got measures in numbers to show levels of anxiety for each participant. Reliability of a measure refers to the extent to which it is free from random error. (Stangor C. 2015 p.92). The strengths in reliability of my scale is that I administered it to a few people and I also put some questions that mean the same thing twice just in different words to see if the answers matched. The limitations of reliability is if the person answers the same question that i reworded differently then I cannot say that it is reliable. There are different form of validity however validity refers to the extent to which a measured variable actually measures the conceptual variable. (Stangor C. 2015. p.96). The strengths concerning validity in my scale is after providing the participants with the questions and getting the results I can now put participants answer to my study to show anxiety levels of each participant. For my anxiety questionnaire i asked people related questions to anxiety to measure the amount of anxiety that people have to show the validity. The limitations if validity in this scenario is if people are not answering questions accurately because they do not take it seriously or if my questions had nothing to do with anxiety and I was testing for anxiety levels in individuals then the answers would not be valid. Overall, this discussion topic and scale i created really put in perspective conceptual variables and how it coincides with measured variables. It also allowed me to understand what circumstances show reliability and validity and how they can also be misinterpreted in data.

Stangor, C . 2015. Research methods for the behavioral sciences. 5th edition).